Socialization Through Informal Education: The Extracurricular Activities of Russian Schoolchildren
The paper presents results of a large-scale research on the scope of services in extracurricular and extra-school education and on assessment of the potential role of education beyond the classroom and informal education in solving children socialization issues. The research was carried out through questioning students as consumers of education services. A new instrument was developed and tested to allow for a detailed description of various aspects of extracurricular activities and their correlation with studies and social and psychological characteristics of students. An extensive statistic material (over 6,000 questionnaires filled out by students from several regions of Russia) was used to analyze the degree of engagement in out-of-class activities among children of different age; the activities that are more popular for specific age groups; the age range when children are most engaged in such activities; the reasons for non-participation in extracurricular activities; the infrastructure of education beyond the classroom; the relative frequency of structured and non-structured classes; the correlation between out-of-class activities and development of self-esteem, feeling of community, and satisfaction. Age- and gender-related profiles of various classes are described. It appears that structured extracurricular activities, unlike unstructured ones, correlate with higher self-esteem (both overall and academic), stronger sense of belonging, and better satisfaction with school.